Runway Report: Haute Couture Fashion Week - NBC4 Washington

Runway Report: Haute Couture Fashion Week

Three days of over-the-top, glamorous runway looks kick off today in Paris.

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    Runway Report: Haute Couture Fashion Week
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Ornate details, from fancy headgear to incredible embellishments, dominates the couture runways this season.

    Couture Week officially kicked off in Paris today with one of the industry's heavy hitters, Christian Dior, albeit marked by the conspicuous absence of one Anna Wintour. The show featured the sounds of girls giggling as runway music, brightly-colored jackets covered with embroidery, and model Chanel Iman, who'd revealed earlier that she'd be in town exclusively for the show.

    The buzz of the week is, of course, how couture--the creme de la creme, so to speak, of the fashion industry--is weathering the current financial downturn. Incredibly, many industry insiders have reported that the couture business has been doing better than anyone might have anticipated. As Veronique Gautier, president of Jean Paul Gaultier, told WWD, the couture side of their business was remarkably untouched by the effects of 2008, and has only been suffering somewhat in 2009. Similarly, much of the couture business has apparently only seen a shifting of orders--from places like Europe and the U.S. to the "nouveau riche" in Middle East, Russia, and China. As Sidney Toledano at Christian Dior told WWD, "There is a demand for sophistication." Most incredibly, Elie Saab reported to WWD that "high fashion represents 45 percent of his total sales." 45 percent!

    Of course, all eyes will be in Christian Lacroix's runway show on Tuesday, as the financial woes plaguing the designer may finally come to bear on his business sooner rather than later. Workers were apparently informed Friday that unless someone comes forward to buy the firm, the workforce could be cut from 124 workers to 12. Lacroix has promised a brave show, and everyone is buzzing over what theatrics the designer will unveil.

    So, for those who are watching these over-the-top, hand-sewn and remarkably detailed pieces come down the runways this week and are wondering, "how can fashion like this still matter?" Apparently, it does. It really does. Here's a sneak peek at the week's most-anticipated shows:

    Monday
    - Christian Dior

    Tuesday
    - Maison Martin Margiela
    - Giorgio Armani Prive
    - Christian Lacroix
    - Givenchy
    - Chanel

    Wednesday
    - Maison Martin Margiela
    - Elie Saab
    - Jean Paul Gaultier
    - Valentino